We are all well aware of the violent death that Jesus suffered. It doesn’t get much more violent that being nailed to a cross and being left to die.
However, not many of us are fully aware of how his twelve disciplines died – other than Judas, who hung himself. The fact is that his disciples also died some outrageously violent deaths.
While some died in the same manner that Jesus did, others died in a slightly different form of crucifixion. And then the majority of them died in a different manner altogether.
One of them actually died a normal death, we know about Judas hanging himself, and one other is unaccounted for. Yet the rest of them experienced an incredibly violent death.
Let us check out six (6) various ways in which the disciples of Jesus violently died.
Crucified Upside Down
Peter was originally given a death sentence using crucifixion. According to legend, Peter simply refused to being crucified in the same manner as Jesus had been. He didn’t see himself as being worthy of dying in the same way as his master did – because he was merely a disciple.
There are some historical scholars who question this. They find it hard to believe that any executioner would let their prisoner decide how they were to die.
However, historical records can neither disprove nor prove either claim. In any event, it has been common belief among Christian communities and circles that Peter was the one who decide he would be crucified upside down – and that the execution occurred as he requested.
During a traditional crucifixion method, victims typically perish by suffocation. Peter’s death most likely was caused by brain hemorrhaging because blood would fill his head as he hung in an upside-down position.
Thankfully, most of us have never witnessed a decapitation.
Those that have describe it as an incredibly bloody event. The irony is that such a hideous sight is actually a very quick death for the poor victim.
Science has told us that they are not entirely sure just how long someone lives after a decapitation. Some studies have suggested that consciousness exists for several seconds in the brain after a beheading. The disciple James, who was the son of Zebedee, was the one that suffered a beheading. There happens to be a very fascinating side story pertaining to the decapitation of James.
A man falsely accused James of an egregious crime. This accusation resulted in a death sentence for James. It is said that James was so humble and courageous during the events that led up to his beheading, the man who accused him decided to repent for his false accusation.
The man also became an instant believer in Christianity, and requested to be decapitated right James. The executioners gladly obliged, and then both the disciple James along with his accuser got their heads chopped off together and at the same time.
Trying to imagine how painful it would be to get skinned alive is both terrifying and disturbing. Such an event would be horrifying to the viewers as well.
The natural response of a victim would certainly be to jerk and try to twist away from the knife, as it tore away their flesh. The blatant shock from this kind of torture would surely be enough to kill the poor victim. If not that, then perhaps they would mercifully bleed out quickly.
Bartholomew was the unlucky disciple that experienced this hideous death. He was actually beheaded in the end, but was a beheading that was far different than the one that James experienced. Poor Bartholomew had to suffer through a very painful flaying prior to his decapitation. Surely, he was already dead before his beheading, but that is not known for sure.
Speared to Death
One of Jesus’s disciples suffered from a death that came from being speared multiple times. Thomas was the disciple who died in this manner.
While spearing may not seem to be a very horrible death at first glance – at least compared with others on this list – it actually creates an agony that doesn’t meet the eye initially. Unlike being cut up or stabbed with swords or knives, spearing does not induce the massive bleeding which would cause the victim to eventually bleed out.
Spearing lengthens the suffering because the victim will not die until his or her vital organs are pierced. Executioners that were experienced in spearing knew where those bodily organs were located and purposely prolonged the victim’s agony.
So in all likelihood, Thomas did not die from blood loss. He died from repeated piercing of his chest cavity. This activity inevitably punctured his heart, pierced through his lungs, as well as rupturing his liver.
Stoned and Clubbed
Jesus actually had two disciples that were named James. We talked about the James who was the son of Zebedee previously, the one who got beheaded. The second James was a son of Alphaeus. His death came about from a stoning and then a clubbing. After he had suffered through a lot of stoning, it was discover that he was alive still. Then someone was ordered finish the execution by clubbing him to death.
Even though death using this method is imminent, it is certainly not immediate. As a matter of fact, stoning victims often suffer from paralysis, seizures, and even the distortion of senses from the intense blunt force trauma to their heads in route to their deaths. Because of the damage to James’s head and body, these effects probably weren’t experience for very long. He most likely had seizures before falling into a deep state of unconsciousness. Death was mostly likely caused from brain trauma and blood loss without the knowledge of it even happening.
Sawed in Half
We know that Jesus had twelve (12) original disciples. However, he also had several others that were not part of that first group. We spoke of one disciple who died a normal death, and that was John who was exiled to an island where he died of old age by himself.
There was actually thirteenth disciple that replaced Judas. His name was Matthias and his specific death isn’t recorded in historical records like the others. The Bible discusses a form of death for most of the original 12. But it also mentions a form of death that is not attributed to any of the original disciples.
That last execution method is being sawed in half. We know a few things about these sawings because the Romans used this method from time to time. Thus, it was carried out by suspending the victim vertically and upside down. The saw began with the genitals and sawed down to the head.
Depending on how sharp the blade was and how strong the executioner was, this type of execution could have been completed very quickly or very slowly.
Obviously, this was a very cruel way to execute a person.